I am currently working on the next book. It has a working title, Empowered for Unity. Below is an except from a section I was working on this morning.
So, what is God’s plan? I heard the Lord speak in my spirit, “Empower the individual believer and they will empower the church.” Mature and healthy individuals fuel the effort of the collective body to come into unity. One mind, one spirit, and one body; unity enables and empowers the church to fulfill her role in history. Where do we begin? Change does not originate in the masses; it originates in the one.
God created man to be fruitful, multiply, tend the garden; and more importantly to have a close personal relationship with him. God wanted a family, so he created man in his own image, in their image (Godhead), and placed him in the garden where he could walk and talk with him. He was their father, and they were his children.
He placed them in paradise, the garden of Eden. Then the unthinkable happened; because of sin the relationship between God and man was interrupted. Being the loving father that he is, he had a plan to rescue man from his sin. Therefore, God’s only begotten son, Jesus, shows up on the scene to rescue you and me.
He lived on earth for thirty years and began his ministry with a rag tag group of men that became his first twelve disciples. For three years he walked with them, he talked with them, he broke bread with them, and he showed them the Father. He planted the seed of the word in their hearts and demonstrated the manifestation of God’s love through the many signs, wonders, and the miracles he performed.
Jesus envisioned the church, his body, as whole. He envisioned his body as unified, and so he prayed.
22 The glory which You have given Me I have given to them, that they may be one, just as We are one; 23 I in them and You in Me, that they may be perfected in unity, so that the world may know that You sent Me, and loved them, even as You have loved Me. John 17:22-23
Jesus prayed that we would all be one. But how? How can people from so many different cultures, social backgrounds, walks of life, even different skin colors become one? It all begins with a relationship with Jesus.
We know that the first twelve disciples were a very unlikely group including fishermen, tax collectors, and a political zealot. Yet they all had one thing in common, their relationship with Jesus.
I was recently contemplating the focus of this book. I knew that the topic was empowering the church through unity, but I wanted to hone the specifics of what God wanted me to share.
As I sat drinking my morning coffee, I asked God to clarify His message more fully. I heard, “Success and happiness are found in healthy relationships. The key is knowing those to keep, those to create, and those to walk away from.” My take away from this is simple. Who you associate with and how is important! Developing healthy relationships is crucial.
It is not about who you are or where you come from, it is about who you know. The twelve disciples had this one thing in common, their relationship with the Lord. They did not become seasoned apostles overnight, not by any stretch of the imagination. Instead, they began by sitting at his feet…learning, observing, and becoming.
Transformation is a process. It is a process that requires our cooperation.
2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect. Romans 12:2